I had a dog once. I think I was eight or nine. A neighbor’s dog had six puppies and decided to give us one. So, in a sense, it was the family dog. But in another sense, since I was the one who bathed it, fed it, and cleaned up after it. That made it MY dog.
There was nothing really special about my dog. It was brown and had about three-fourths of a full-length tail. The reason I named her Putol.
I loved that dog. Played with her every chance I got. Walked her, even talked to her. When I come home from school, my dog was always the first one to greet me, her three-fourths of a full-length tail eagerly wagging behind her.
I told her to never put her dirty paws on my white school uniform and she never did. I really thought she understood me.
One day, in school, some friends decided to play basketball the coming Saturday. I thought great! I’d love to play too. And then another volunteered that he would be bringing his dog to school. Okay, I’ll bring mine too.
“So what kind is it?” the school friend innocently asked.
“Kind? What do you mean kind? It is brown -- and it has about three-fourths of a full length tail”.
Before the school friend could make a cruel remark, another schoolmate, kindly rescued me from the predicament and engaged him in all this talk about German Shepherds, Rottweillers and Dobermans.
I was lost. People are mostly unkind, without knowing it.
At the supper table that night, I asked my father, “What kind of a dog is Putol?”
"Kind, what do you mean kind?" My father was always like that, very thorough. And so I explained to him what had happened in school.
After a long pause, my father finally said matter-of-factly “Your dog has no kind. It is a mongrel.”
I was nearly in tears. I didn’t even really know what the word “mongrel” meant. But I knew what it was not. My dog was not a Doberman, not a German Shepherd, not a Rottweiller.
My dog has no kind.
I rushed out to the yard to look for my dog. And as I stared at her intently, her eager tail wagging behind her, I’ve come to this realization. Nothing’s changed. I still loved my dog.
But I never walked her again.